GOVERNMENT agencies, local government units (LGUs) and citizens of Western Visayas must prepare for typhoon “Samuel” which is expected to make a landfall 40 km west southwest of Iloilo City tomorrow morning, Nov. 21.
“Samuel” would bring moderate to heavy rains which may trigger flooding, landslides and storm surges, according to the Office of Civil Defense. LGUs, including barangay officials, should conduct information dissemination on the strength of the typhoon and its effects and must craft community evacuation plans.
We should all be on heightened alert now. We remind LGUs to ensure that citizens are safe, release frequently updated advisories and ensure that areas expected to be affected are prepared — activate all forms of early warning systems, set up evacuation centers, evacuate families living in landslide-prone and flood-prone areas.
LGUs should implement forced evacuation when called for. Shelters for evacuees should be well designed, built strong, and prepared ahead of time with emergency supplies of food, water, medicine, shelter, and toiletries, while government agencies are ready to augment the basic needs of evacuees.
Moreover, local disaster risk reduction and management officers should be alert. Quick communication and real-time updates are vital in ensuring effective disaster response with first responders and search and rescue teams ready for dispatch anytime.
Also, let us find ways to prevent damage to critical infrastructure such as transmission lines because electricity and communication lines are more important in the aftermath of disasters.
Another important matter: communities must heed disaster warnings to avoid accidents. When warned of an impending hazard, we should take safety measures. Stay indoors and do not attempt to go out especially at the height of the typhoon to avoid accidents.
National and local action must promote disaster prevention with “zero casualty” as a mindset and approach. On the other hand, citizens must do their part by paying attention to government warnings and community advisories.